The Canberra Liberals have welcomed the government’s announcement to establish the position of the ACT’s first Chief Engineer. However, the announcement raises questions as to whether the position would function effectively by itself and without proper support, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Nicole Lawder said today.

“Ahead of last year’s ACT Election, the Canberra Liberals committed to establishing an Engineers’ panel, to work in consultation with the government on infrastructure. The government needs to ask itself whether a sole Chief Engineer, without a supporting panel is a half-baked policy,” Ms Lawder said.

“Having an Engineers’ Panel consisting of members who have different engineering skills and knowledge bases would ensure that projects are of the highest quality and appropriately selected so that the ACT can have the best infrastructure in the country.

“This point was highlighted by Engineers Australia’s General Manager, Sydney and Canberra Divisions, Greg Ewing who said in 2016: ‘Having a Chief Engineer, together with a dedicated engineers’ panel would provide government with a real focal point, as well as help solve problems in the design phase of major projects.’

“The government would not introduce a Chief Medical Officer or a Chief Scientist without appropriate support and the government should recognise that public infrastructure is vital to a vibrant community. The government should be doing all it can to support the new role,” Ms Lawder concluded.